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Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2007 Sep;15(3):255-9.

COX-2 expression in invasive breast cancer: correlation with prognostic parameters and outcome.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Lipoxygenases (LOX) and cyclooxygenases (COX) are key mediators of arachidonic acid metabolism. Recently, studies have reported that human breast carcinomas aberrantly express LOX and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and that decreased levels of 15-lipoxygenase (15-LOX) and raised levels of COX-2 and 12-LOX have prognostic value in patients with breast cancer. 15-LOX was significantly reduced with increasing stage, and in patients who developed metastatic disease, local recurrence, and/or died. With high COX-2, patients developed local recurrence, died from breast cancer and had reduced disease-free and disease-related overall survival in estrogen receptor (ER)-negative but not ER-positive disease. COX-2 expression is also associated with increased angiogenesis, lymph node metastasis, and Her2-neu overexpression. The purpose of this study is to evaluate COX-2 expression in breast cancer and to determine its correlation with prognostic parameters and outcome. Five tissue microarrays were constructed from 43 breast carcinomas and 5 normal breast tissues, represented by 1 mm cores in triplicate from each of 3 foci. Tissue microarray cores were immunostained with monoclonal COX-2. Expression was assessed as intensity and scored as percentage of cells positive. Prognostic parameters and follow-up information were obtained from the hospital records of Mexican Oncology Hospital, Mexico, where the carcinomas were diagnosed. Ninety-five percent (41/43) of the breast carcinomas showed cytoplasmic COX-2 expression. COX-2 intensity and percentage of cells positive correlated significantly with size of carcinoma (P=0.0271; P=0.0539, respectively). COX-2 intensity correlated significantly with histologic grade (P=0.0182). COX-2 did not correlate with outcome (disease-free and overall survival). There was no significant correlation between COX-2 and ER. In conclusion, COX-2 correlates with poor prognostic markers in breast cancer (large tumor size and high tumor grade), but not with outcome. The therapeutic value of COX-2 inhibitors in COX-2 positive breast cancer patients requires further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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